Here are some facts and Q & As about the new Job Support Scheme to help you understand it better and make informed decisions about your future employment prospects.
What is the Job Support Scheme?
- The Job Support Scheme (JSS) is designed to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (aka Furlough). The JSS runs from 1st November 2020 to 31 April 2021.
- The new Scheme is intended to help both employers and employees by topping up salaries/wages in organisations which can’t afford to take their employees back on a full-time basis.
- As an employee, you will be eligible for support via the Job Support Scheme if you’re in a ‘viable’ job where you can work for at least one third of your normal hours. You will also need to have been on your employer’s PAYE payroll since 23 September 2020 or before.
- The new Scheme includes employees on irregular or zero-hours contracts.
- Small and medium sized businesses can use the JSS and large businesses can also use it if their revenue has fallen because of coronavirus.
- The main difference between the Furlough scheme and the Job Support Scheme is that now you must work in order to benefit. The idea is to encourage employers to keep you in their employment and to continue to operate their businesses.
- Another difference between this new Scheme and the Furlough scheme is that employers can’t make you redundant or put you on notice whilst they are claiming a Job Support Scheme grant on your behalf.
How much will you get from the Job Support Scheme?
How much of your normal pay you receive from the JSS depends on how many hours you work:
Job Support Scheme Example 1. You work one third or 33.33%* of your normal hours:
- The one third or 33.33%* of your normal hours that you work under the Scheme is paid by your employer.
- The remaining two thirds (66.66%*)that you don’t work are then split into three equal parts, with your employer and the government each paying 22.22%* and you in effect ‘losing’ the remaining 22.22%*.
(*% rounded down to 2 decimal points)
In summary, you receive just under 78% of your normal pay (i.e. 100% less 22.22%). Your employer pays 55.55% of your normal pay (i.e. 33.33% plus 22.22%), even though you only work one third of your normal hours. (See below for further discussion.)
Job Support Scheme Example 2. You work half or 50% of your normal hours
Again, the half you work is paid by your employer, with the remaining 50% that you don’t work being split three ways (as above). You are paid just over 83% of your normal pay.
Job Support Scheme Example 3. You work 70% of your normal hours
As above, the 70% you work is paid by your employer, with the remaining 30% being divided between the government, your employer and you. You end up being paid 90% of your salary.
Note however, that the government is capping its contribution for each employee at £697.92 per month.
Is the Job Support Scheme better for you than Furlough?
Furlough provided a nice cushion when the crisis was at its peak, but people were worried that in practice it was a precursor to redundancy. That is less likely to be the case with the Job Support Scheme, so in that respect at least, it is better for you than Furlough.
How likely are employers to take up the Job Support Scheme?
Employers have to pay for some hours not worked (see examples above), so the Job Support Scheme won’t always be an attractive option.
If employers are optimistic about the future, however, they are more likely to pay so that essential work is done and so that they don’t lose good employees.
They can also put employees on the new Scheme for short periods, of at least seven days (having them work full time the rest of the time).
Can employers force you into the Job Support Scheme?
No, they can’t unilaterally force a change to your contract – but you have to consider whether it’s preferable to redundancy.
Can you ask your employer to top up the salary you lose?
The government’s factsheet says that employers can’t top it up that way. However, we think that means the government thinks most employers who are using the scheme can’t afford to top it up.
If you know that your employer has savings and expects to do well in the future, there’s no harm in asking for a top up, especially if your redundancy would be expensive for them.
What if you’re offered redundancy when there’s as much work as before?
That would be unfair dismissal. So, if redundancy is a possibility, have a look at our Redundancy letter builder as a first step. You can use the letter builder if you are facing redundancy and want to persuade your employer to keep you on – perhaps helped by the Job Support Scheme. The letter builder can also be used if you want to negotiate a redundancy exit package with your employer.
What should you do next?
If your employer is considering using the Job Support Scheme, we’d suggest you consider your options and do your calculations – for example:
- Work out what you’d get if you were made redundant: the calculation for statutory redundancy pay is set out on our page on redundancy negotiations, though some businesses voluntarily pay more than the statutory minimum.
- Look at job adverts and evaluate your chances of getting another job if you accepted redundancy.
- Think about whether you could use the extra free time to gain new skills or qualifications, which could be useful either in your current job or elsewhere.
- Have a look at our other articles on coronavirus-related issues and the other relevant material listed in our Helpful Guides below. If redundancy is a real prospect, try our Redundancy letter builder outlined earlier.
Expanded Job Support Scheme
A couple of weeks following the announcement of the above Job Support Scheme, the Chancellor announced plans to expand the Scheme to support employees in businesses forced to shut because of local or national Covid-19 restrictions.
From 1 November 2020 until end April 2021 (the same dates as the JSS above), employees who are forced to remain off work for more than seven consecutive days because their place of work is required to close due to coronavirus restrictions, get two-thirds of their salaries covered by the government, up to £2,100 per month. (See the government’s factsheet on the expanded JSS for further details.)
Get in touch
Contact us at Monaco Solicitors if you are think that your employer is treating you badly, whether it’s in connection with operation of the Job Support Scheme, or for any other reason.
We are a specialist employment law firm, only representing employees. Our team of senior solicitors are friendly and approachable professionals. They have many years experience of successfully representing employees who are being poorly treated at work.